Relocating Sub Panel

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  #1  
Old 10-30-12, 02:07 PM
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Relocating Sub Panel

Hello,
Following is my current arrangement and what I propose.
I am in the Seattle area and have a detached garage/shop with its own separate 200 amp service. The garage/shop was built in 1974. From the main panel in the garage there is a separate sub-panel, which is located above a utility sink (nice, eh?) .

The shop/ garage is a hodge-podge of add-ons over the years with 1974 being the most recent and the original structure built in 1953. The 1974 wiring and panel appear to be sound, but the older wiring and sub-panel should be upgraded and moved.
The circuits on the existing sub-panel are low-demand and I believe it is a 100 amp service - It will be when I am done with it. I will add dedicated 20 amp outlets for saws, etc, and a refrigerator. Otherwise, the expected demand is benign.

While I am remodeling the old garage I want to relocate the sub-panel there for obvious reasons. I want to mount the panel on an interior wall, in a location central to the existing outlet locations. The proposed location is in the Old Garage section and I can use either interior wall.

The exterior wall of the old garage is of 1953 construction. It is 2x4 studs 24" OC, 60# felt and 2x10 rough cedar siding. There is no OSB/plywood between the felt and the studs.

I am comfortable working with wiring and circuits and have a relative who is an electrician and will help me wire the panel and check my work before we energize.
Questions:
  • We own an old VW Bug convertible that is parked in the old garage. Assuming it is parked in the garage, is this considered to infringe upon the clear area around the panel? I understand cabinets and appliances cannot be located in the clear area, but the car can be moved. Trying to understand the criteria.
  • If the old garage location won't work, can I mount on the other side of the wall from the proposed location, away from the sink? How far from the sink? The room is used as a utility/storage area.
  • If the exterior wall is the only/best location, what considerations do I need to be aware of?


Any other advice is welcome.
Thanks!
Andy
 
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  #2  
Old 10-30-12, 02:15 PM
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You need a space the size of a typical refrigerator in front of the panel, 30" wide x 36" deep. the panel does not need to be centered in the 30". The panel can be right next to the sink.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 04:03 PM
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Honestly, my 24' by 38' shop has only 100A service and is adequate. This is in the desert with an AC unit running during the summer, plus the three-horse compressor, the twelve dual-8' T12 light fixtures, the battery chargers, the drill press, garage door openers, etc.

I'm curious as to why you don't instead run the circuits to the main panel in the newer section.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 04:05 PM
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While the panel can technically be right next to the sink, any receptacle mounted there must be GFCI protected. For that reason, I'd keep the new subpanel 6' or more away from the sink. I'd also keep it away from any location that required that a car be moved to create the clear work space - I'm not sure I'd bother to move the car every time I wanted in that panel.

If the face of the panel can be kept at least 9' from the nearest edge of the sink, then the opposite of the wall where you show it will work fine. If not, how about the back wall of the old garage, between the two doorways. Is that what you meant by the exterior wall? If so, and that wall stays dry, then that would be fine. You could, if you wanted to and had the room, mount it to a piece of plywood secured to a couple of the studs in that wall.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 05:44 PM
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The outbuilding will require GFI protection for the 120v receptacles wherever they are located.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 07:57 PM
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Thank you for the responses.
T-W-X: my shop is nearly the same size as yours. There is some strange history of a previous owner who installed the separate service to the newer garage, and unfortunately I only have fragments of this history. As I mentioned, he had it wired for a 200 amp service separate from the house. There are a few dedicated welding circuits, compressor circuits, etc. The existing sub-panel I believe exists to power the the then-existing circuits in the old garage when the newer garage was added in 1974. The wiring in the old garage is clearly of 1950's vintage.

I suppose I could run back to the main panel. The thought hadn't occurred to me. Mostly, I was trying to economize on wire. Since there is already service wire from the main panel to the extant sub, I thought I would tap it - assuming it is properly rated.

Nashkat: Your suggestion is also one I had not considered - keeping the panel in the same room, only moving it. This actually makes sense. if I do in fact relocate the sub in the same room I have plenty of space to move it far from the sink. Since all the drywall is removed from the old garage bay I have easy access right now to the back side.

Follow-on question: I am seeing confliciting info on the forums, and don't have the NEC book. I DO have the most recent Code-Check book and am digging through it as a reference. Is it required or not to add a separate ground rod (or 2, 8' apart) for the sub? And does this also have to be bonded to the water service into the room? I will check the code books when I can get to the library. This forum is just a good, source to get my head in the right direction.

As always, thank you.

Andy
 
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Old 10-30-12, 08:13 PM
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An outbuilding with a panel will require a grounding electrode system that is commonly two 8' rods driven at least 6' apart.

How does the water line get to the outbuilding? Is it metallic? How long is it?
 
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Old 10-30-12, 09:13 PM
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The water line is 1/2" PVC and run through a section of 4" pvc underground 6' from the house. IIRC, the PVC water service transitions to copper under the house.

Andy
 
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Old 10-31-12, 07:07 PM
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Thanks again for the advice. It now seems the best course of action is to run the circuits to the main panel AND replace it. Replacing the main panel had been on my to-do list for some time and now seems like a good time given its Zinsco/Sylvania origins.

I'll try to remember to post updates as this project unfolds.

Andy
 
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Old 10-31-12, 08:12 PM
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Thanks again for the advice. It now seems the best course of action is to run the circuits to the main panel AND replace it. Replacing the main panel had been on my to-do list for some time and now seems like a good time given its Zinsco/Sylvania origins.
OMG....Had you said that before I would have jumped into this thread earlier. You have a fire just waiting to erupt! By all means, change the Zinsco/Sylvania as soon as you possibly can!
 
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Old 10-31-12, 09:56 PM
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Just wanted to highlight something:
You have a fire just waiting to erupt! By all means, change the Zinsco/Sylvania as soon as you possibly can!
 
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Old 11-01-12, 10:28 AM
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Wait, I get the sense that the Zinsco panels are a bad thing.

We've owned the property for 11 years. When we purchased, the inspector (I've since learned they aren't all-knowing) said these panels weren't the greatest and I might consider replacing the it at some point.

Thank you for making clear the best course of action. I can see a new panel in my weekend.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 07:03 PM
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  #14  
Old 11-02-12, 10:21 PM
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I have a Square D, QO panel and breakers and am ready to rock and roll Sunday morning.
 
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Old 11-03-12, 06:32 AM
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I have a Square D, QO panel and breakers and am ready to rock and roll Sunday morning.
Good quality with standard copper bus. I hate doing business with Square D not for their excellent products, but because of their business ethics. Good luck!
 
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